The Hine’s emerald dragonfly is an endangered species that can be found in our very own Door County, Wisconsin. The species was added to the U.S. List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants on January 26, 1995. This means that it is illegal to harm, collect, harass or kill the dragonflies because they are in danger of becoming extinct. It is also the only dragonfly protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.
The Hine’s emerald dragonfly can be spotted by its bright-emerald green eyes and metallic green body with yellow stripes. Its wings are clear with red-brown coloring at the base. The creature’s body is about 2.5 inches long, and its wingspan is about 3.3 inches.
During its lifespan, the dragonfly goes through an egg stage, larval stage, and adult stage. The dragonflies live in the water as nymphs for 2 to 4 years after they hatch from their eggs. After this, they emerge from the water and shed their skin becoming a flying adult. The adult dragonflies may only live for 4 to 5 weeks.
Reasons for Endangerment
The dragonfly was originally found in Alabama, Indiana, and Ohio, but is now completely eradicated in these states. Today, it can only be found in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Michigan. The species became endangered due to habitat destruction. Most of its wetland habitat has been destroyed by urban and industrial development. The dragonfly lives in spring-fed marshes and meadows with high levels of calcium carbonate. Another threat to the Hine’s emerald dragonfly are pesticides and pollutants that contaminate the water. The species needs pristine wetland areas with clean water to grow and develop.
The largest population of the Hine’s emerald dragonfly is found in Door County, Wisconsin. The coastal springs and wetlands of the area provide a rich habitat that the species is able to thrive in. The dragonflies can be found in multiple areas of the county, including the Mink River Estuary, Three Springs Creek, North Bay Marsh, Bailey’s Harbor Swamp, Piel Creek, and a few others locations.
Mink River Estuary
One way that you can find this beautiful endangered creature is our Mink River Estuary Kayak Tour. This tour will take you down one of the most pristine freshwater estuaries in the country. An estuary is an area where river water mixes with water from a large lake or ocean. In this case, the Mink River mixes with Lake Michigan at Rowley’s bay. The conditions of the large wetland in the Mink River Estuary allows for the Hine’s emerald dragonfly to breed and develop. In addition to the Hine’s emerald dragonfly, an estimated 200 species of birds pass through the area annually, as well as lots of other wildlife. This tour is perfect for all nature lovers! Click here to book your tour and explore the beautiful wildlife of the Mink River Estuary.